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Wal-Mart Opens First 'All You Can Live' Township
March 11, 2020
WALTON, OH--Officials of the Wal-Mart Corporation announced Thursday the opening of Walton Township, a company designed and managed subdivision on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio. Walton, the first of three Wal-Mart communities scheduled to open this year, introduces residents to the company's new 'all you can live' consumer goods subscription service. "Beyond its quality environment and top-notch municipal services, Walton represents our first serious foray into flat-fee provision of consumer products," explains Michael Elmoere, Wal-Mart VP of Intra-Regional Logistics and First Regent of Walton Township. "It's a 21st century horn-of-plenty, all for one no-fuss monthly fee."
Taking advantage of the company's superior purchasing power and its much-vaunted just-in-time inventory management systems, Walton guarantees its residents a literally bottomless supply of the staple consumer goods with which Wal-Mart is commonly associated. "As much Windex as you want," boasts Elmoere. "As many Cheetos and Glad garbage bags. Imagine, every need satisfied." And the company is willing to stand behind its promises, integrating a '100% availability guarantee' covering more than 1,200 common household goods into Walton's town charter. "If it's in the charter, and it's not available, we'll pay you the cost of a replacement good, plus 10%. Guaranteed."
Walton Township's initial phase, designed by the Arkansas firm Furst + Femble-Grieg, includes 118 ranch-style single-family dwellings arranged on meandering, pedestrian-friendly avenues radiating from a central town hall and distribution center. "The key to Walton is a literal superimposition of municipal and retail channels," notes Valerie Femble-Grieg, a principal of the firm. "Our goal was to achieve a resonant harmony between the traditional idiom of the town center and the particular expertise of Wal-Mart in designing distribution networks. The Walton town center is a great central hearth, a hearth of great bounty."
In an effort to control 'leakage,' the export of flat-fee goods outside the Township by community subscribers, Wal-Mart plans to institute a pervasive inventory control system consisting of miniature radio-frequency tags broadcasting unique product and batch ID numbers. "We accept that we cannot control leakage absolutely, but, frankly, our focus research indicates that it may be less of a problem than most expect," explains Elmoere. "Most of the problem is solved by allocating 'guest-minutes' to each of the residents for friends and family. The real goal is less total inventory awareness than designing a subscription service that satisfies people's real needs."
Reaction to the Township in the retail community has been mixed. "It is a daring concept," admits Loki Jonones, Merchandising Director at Federated Lifestyle Enterprises. "But it doesn't make sense at all price points, at all levels in the value chain."
Elmoere reports that the results of initial marketing efforts have surpassed the company's modest expectations. "This is a radical new pricing structure for us," admits Elmoere. "And, frankly, we expected initial response to be slow as consumers digested the possibilities. But Walton is currently over-subscribed, and we've got 14 families scheduled for move-in this week."
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